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Levelland (2003)

R  |   |  Drama  |  7 May 2003 (USA)
5.7
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Ratings: 5.7/10 from 135 users  
Reviews: 9 user | 2 critic

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Nick Stanley
...
Zach Stanley
Erik Ostos ...
Steve Alamo
Simon Bingham ...
Davey Felton
Jason Juranek ...
Matt Mueller
Jessica Schwartz ...
Betty Mueller
Logan Camp ...
Derrick Conrad
Miguel Guerra ...
Contest Announcer
Jake Nunn ...
Local Hero
Marie Black ...
Sally Brooks
Jennifer Tenneyuque ...
Girl in Classroom
...
Judy Lang
...
May Stanley
Shana McClendon ...
Theresa Mueller
Nicole Ponzio ...
Rosemary Mueller
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Genres:

Drama

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Rated R for language and sexual content
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7 May 2003 (USA)  »

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User Reviews

 
Excellent coming-of-age drama sans stereotypes. (spoilers)
19 March 2005 | by (Orlando, Florida) – See all my reviews

I was surprised by 'Levelland.' Despite the synopsis of the box which, at least for me, alludes to a depressing coming-of-age story in the tradition of 'Kids,' this movie is actually a light, much more realistic approach to teenage confusion. While, unfortunately adhering to some of the usual suspects of recent coming-of-age tales (the young student having an affair with an older woman or the subplot of teenage pregnancy--which was ultimately cut from the movie, but can be seen in the DVD 'bonus materials'), it does without the conventional teenage stereotypes. The characters, though possessing some of that teenage crassness, as teenagers naturally do, they lack all unnecessary stereotypes and actually turn out to be very normal mediated versions of a real teenager. There's no set aside roles that they fit neatly within and, best of all, they're hardly obnoxious characters. They're very likable characters that we may empathize with.

This is a story that plays true to punk ethic, using skateboarding as the metaphor for escape in the story of a handful of friends in a depressing suburb in Texas (it is a cleaner version of 'Suburbia' and 'Over the Edge' in a sense). Zach, the main bildungsromane character, is necessarily more complex, especially for a teenager (though all of his friends appear to have more depth than the usually teen fare likes to make known), knowing that the freedom of skating and his love of the activity is the only thing keeping his from going insane in the bland suburban environment. I think someone in the film accurately defined skating as their survival.

Matt Barr, a fine fellow, was perfect in this role and hopefully, will be able to show off his craft in other features. As the atypical concept of the "skater," at least as stereotypical as Hollywood (and the indie circuit, too) likes to define them, that was the most enjoyable feature for me. Clark Walker gives us real characters, and real teenagers to deal with. Though, he probably would have to if the story is to be about transcending the mundane atmosphere of the suburbs.

One other viewer writes that the supporting cast was left largely underdeveloped. If you hear the commentary for the deleted scenes, you'll see that writer/director Clark Walker wanted all the focus to be on the main character, Zach. This is essentially his story and everything told from his point of view. Nonetheless, there were some moments where we do gain some insight about the supporting characters, but not enough to really think about. Maybe Walker wanted to avoid the multi-character function that Larry Clark, for example, provides in his films of teen angst.

Nonetheless, this was a surprisingly good drama. I would definitely recommend watching it. Skate fans should also appreciate ample skate footage and nice old punk soundtrack.


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